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Six great biographies you should read

Masajeng Rahmiasri
Masajeng Rahmiasri

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, June 12, 2016  /  11:55 am
Six great biographies you should read

Biography, a look at someone's life in words. (Shutterstock/-)

There isn’t any better way to know about a person than to know them yourself, yes. But, you can take an overall view on how a person lived their life and actually learn something from them by reading their biography. Most of the time, you don’t only get to see what was inside their mind, but also how their life struggles influenced them. We've picked six great biographies that you should read and maybe even keep.

The Mute's Soliloquy: A Memoir (2000)

Written by Pramoedya Ananta Toer himself and translated into English by Willem Samuels, this book offers its readers the story of the Buru Quartet author’s life, who was imprisoned on Buru Island, Maluku, for 11 years. Readers are invited to experience Pramoedya's way of thinking, dive into his emotions through his journals and essays, as well as read his unsent letters for his children in this book.

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Abdurrahman Wahid: Muslim democrat, Indonesian president: a view from the inside (2002)

Abdurrahman Wahid or more popularly known as “Gus Dur”, Indonesia’s fourth president, was a controversial person to some but a loved scholar to others. Through his own experience with the late president, Greg Barton invites readers into the events of Gus Dur’s life, how he went through his 21-month presidency, stories of his younger years, and also his religious and liberal views.

Sukarno: An Autobiography as told to Cindy Adams (1965)

Cindy Adams wrote Sukarno's biography based on her meetings with the president, capturing Sukarno's true self. From a child that was tattled about by his neighbors, to a man who fought for the independence of his country, and later to a president that was exiled, readers can find out personal as well as general insights of the late president.

(Read also: 12 Indonesian books you should add to your reading list)

Steve Jobs (2011)

Steve Job's biography was written by Walter Isaacson, a former editor of TIME magazine who also wrote several biographies including Benjamin Franklin’s and Albert Einstein’s. Written based on his interviews with the Apple cofounder over the years, the book speaks on Job's daily realities—his personal life, as well as his part in creating and growing the giant technology company.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (1969)

This book tells the life story of Maya Angelou, an African-American poet and writer in her earlier years. As the first book of a seven-volume series, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings documents her childhood life until the time she becomes a mother at 16. Readers will also be exposed to Maya's fight against racism and prejudice, as well as her trauma after being raped.

(Read also: 10 facts a real Muhammad Ali fan must know)

The Greatest: My Own Story (2015)

Originally released in 1975, this biography was written by Muhammad Ali himself and Richard Durham. In its newest edition that is edited by Toni Morrison, the book tells the life story of “The Greatest”. Readers will relive the bigotry and discrimination Ali faced, though of which did not faze him—a boxing legend and a man who stood tall in his faith. (asw)

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